Can You Just Be?
By Irene Conlan –
Last night was “kid night” at our house. A friend was here with her four children and Jack, my grandson, was here for the weekend. They’re great friends and engage in continuous play with lots of laughs and some occasional “ouches” and rarely, some tears.
We had taken some pictures of the oldest boy for a school project and, just as I settled back into my chair, the three pictured above came bubbling into my living room. “Gramma, Gramma,” they chirped, in something akin to unison but a bit askew, “Take our picture. Will you take our picture? Pleeeeeeeeeeze?” Puleeeeeeze?” How could I resist a plea like that? I couldn’t.
So we snapped away amid giggles and antics and then loaded them into the computer so we could see them better. The little one who is three looked at his picture in astonishment and started singing, “Look at me. Look at me” with a smile that ravished his entire face. He was inside my computer and just couldn’t figure out how he got there – and he was loving it. The six year olds acted like they understood and smiled at him condescendingly – my Grandson explained the whole thing in a way that even he couldn’t understand but none of us really cared that it didn’t make sense. It was all we needed to know about the matter.
They bounced out just as quickly as they bubbled in, seemingly satisfied that their posing and preening was equally as important as the older brother’s and I heard them giggling all the way down the hall and then on into the evening.
I think we can learn some of our greatest life lessons from children. Sometimes it seems like they should be the teachers and we the students but instead we try to cram our ideas, manners, ways of being into them and make them just like us. Such a pity.
Last night the three were dressed up for pictures and they were pretending to be somebody else. Jack was a pilot, Rowdy was a clown and Jade was a cowboy. They didn’t have to be the same and they took their characters from the hats that were available. They announced that Jade was the Sheriff and Jade fingered his badge and pushed his hat back a little bit. At that moment he WAS the sheriff even though he doesn’t know what a sheriff is.
Sometimes we adults pretend to be someone or something we are not but the difference is that the children know they’re pretending and sometimes we come to believe our own fantasy. Because we have a title, or some money or a big house or some claim to fame, we come to believe that we are different from everyone else and much more important. We forget that just because we are human and on this planet, we are beautiful, important, special and we only have to be our authentic selves.
But even worse, sometimes we pretend that we are worthless, unworthy, not good enough and we come to believe it, leaving our hopes and dreams to languish unfulfilled. There is a saying, “God don’t make no junk.”
The children know who they are after the pretend game is over. Do you? Who are you? If you could take off the costume, the hat, the pretenses, the aliases who would you be?
Today would be a good day to find out.
Then for a time you can relax and just be.